The mess tent was the combined kitchen/dining area for the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Meals were prepared in a separate back-room and served on steam trays in the larger area.
Food served in the mess-tent was frequently regarded as low-quality; consisting of Army surplus canned goods or other prefabricated ingredients. The cook regularly insisted that speedy preparation was more important than quality service, owing to the sheer volume of meals needed daily. Private Igor Straminsky was usually responsible for serving food in the Mess Tent and as a result suffered most of the complaints about food quality (although Igor was not the actual cook preparing food).
When not used for dining, the mess tent would frequently serve as the 4077th's auditorium and be used for movie screenings and other special events.